Time for national home moving digital identity system, industry tells MPs

A group of MPs and Lords met with representatives from real estate agencies, logbooks and transportation sectors to discuss how technology can drastically change the way the real estate industry verifies people’s identities under AML and KYC rules.

The all-party group meeting found that the UK is lagging behind in digital identity systems for residential property sales that are already in operation in several European countries, including Holland and Belgium.

Glynis Frew - Hunter - PictureGlynis Frew, CEO of Hunters (pictured) told the meeting that agents can be asked to verify identity up to five times during a transaction.

And Stuart Young, MD of Etivetold the meeting that too often sponsors, lenders and real estate agents have been unable to trust each other’s identity verification and that these have been duplicated during the sale.

As a result, Young said, real estate transactions are taking longer than they did a decade ago. He also said the real estate industry has to verify the identities of 13.7 million people every year, which costs £ 400 million.

The couple, joined by Stephen Ward of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, asked MPs to convince the government to provide seed capital to create a digital ID system for the real estate industry.

This would then be self-financing once it was operational if such a system became a legal requirement for the home buying and selling process, he said.

All three agreed three government departments are involved – MHCLG, the Land Ministry and Digital, culture, media and sport – and that it would be consumers who pay for and organize their own digital identity before they can move home.

“Covid has had a huge impact and accelerated the need for digital identities as we cannot meet people in the same way to conduct ID processes,” said Young.

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